Huge congratulations to Hilary on securing an off-cycle internship with Bank of America Merrill Lynch! We recently chatted with Hilary about her reasons behind applying to Bank of America, her experience of the application process and what she felt were important tips for future applicants to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
What made you apply to Bank of America Merrill Lynch?
Initially, I saw them advertised on Bright Network so I checked them out online and saw that they were more heavily involved in capital markets than some of the other banks I had been looking at. I wanted to go into capital markets so I researched the company more and liked what I found. In particular, I really felt the company’s working environment was a healthy and sociable one to be in, the exact sort of working environment I wanted to be a part of.
Why do you want to work in capital markets?
I’ve always wanted to have a varied work load. The capital markets division of Bank of America Merrill Lynch sits between sales and investment banking. This means I wouldn’t have to work only in one area (such as only working in sales) but would engage in a range of tasks that vary on a day to day basis. The multi-faceted nature of a job in capital markets was what really attracted me to this division of Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
What was the application process like?
The process started with me submitting my C.V. online alongside my answers two competency questions ( 1. Summarise what you believe the role entail and 2. What skills and knowledge do you think you could bring to the role?). After this I had to complete a situational judgement test. After about a month they rang me up without warning to do a phone interview which focussed on my motivations to work for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and what I could bring to the role. After this interview I was invited to an assessment centre in the same week. At the assessment centre I had to do a numerical test which was extremely hard, we were told it was the hardest in the U.K.! Following this I had two interviews, one which was about me and one which was much more technical with questions about interest rates and banking. The second interviewer also asked me questions about my commercial awareness.
You went to the Bright Network FESTIVAL; did you find it useful?
Yes, I found it extremely useful for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it provided me with a lot of useful information regarding application processes, how to hold yourself in an interview for example and other bits of information I hadn’t considered before. I do feel like the workshops and alumni talks helped give me a perspective of what it was like to work in industry and what recruiters looked for from candidates. Secondly, I found it useful as it allowed me to reach out and make contacts at a lot of different firms relatively quickly. I met representatives from loads of different banks there as well as got more information about what it was like to work in each of these banks.
What three tips would you give to your fellow Bright Network members?
- The interview is a chance for the interviewers to get to see what sort of person you are. They want to find out if you have the right attitude and are personable.
- Be confident in your own abilities! You’ve made it to the assessment centre for a reason, believe in yourself as that’ll make you more confident and help relax you a little.
- Develop a good understanding of the industry you want to go into, it’ll make the technical questions easier to answer if you have an interest in the industry!
What was the hardest interview question you faced?
Your friend has been ill during the exam season. Someone you do not know has given her access to the answers for your upcoming exam. Your friend intends to use these answers to cheat. What do you do?